A newly published survey produced by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the Construction Dust Partnership has found that workers believe more needs to be done by employers in the construction industry to combat that dangers of dust. The risk to health that dust can cause is much more significant than many employers think or perhaps they simply aren’t aware of the danger.
Statistics show that more than 500 construction workers in the UK die from lung cancer because of silica, a chemical found in construction dust. Others also suffer from other conditions cause by dust including COPD, silicosis and asthma. Industrial diseases are avoidable in many instances with the right PPE and employers should be more aware and more readily prepared to protect their employees from long and painful illnesses. Being found negligent can result in serious criminal consequences for employers as well as the injured party being more than within their rights to claim compensation.
Construction Industry Dust Risks
This new industry survey has shown that workers across the construction industry think that dust needs to be more of a focus for their employers. Participants were asked what priority they believed the industry puts on the control of dust and a huge 44% answered ‘very little’ and only 12.5% said they believed it was a ‘priority health issue’.
The survey was carried out in the aftermath of the launch of the No Time To Lose Campaign which focuses on increasing awareness of workplace cancers and educating companies on how to manage the dangerous chemicals which cause occupational cancers.
Over 600 people replied to the survey with 61% of the replies specifically from health and safety advisors to construction companies throughout the UK. The survey was designed to provide an insight into the very real dangers of construction dust and how much the people working amongst it truly know about its risk.
There are ways of managing dust effectively using particular tools and of course the right PPE, but the survey showed that there is a poor understanding or how to use extraction tools to remove dust and this leads on an over-reliance on respiratory protective equipment to keep people safe from the dangers of dust. The use of water suppression is one way of controlling dust that the survey found is improving and the survey also suggests that there is better compliance by those who understand the risks.
The painful results of industrial diseases caused by dust are not something you’d want anyone to go through, let alone your hard-working employees so putting the right controls in place to protect them is essential.